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Survey Costs

I'm reading an interesting book, Seymour Sudman's "Reducing the Cost of Surveys." It was written in 1967, so some of the book is about "high tech" methods like using the telephone and scanning forms.

The part I'm interested in is the interviewer cost models. I'm used to the cost models in sampling texts, which are not very elaborate. Sudman has much more elaborate cost models. For example, the costs of surveys can vary across different types of PSUs and for interviewers who live different distances from their sample clusters.

It brings to mind Groves book on Survey Errors and Survey Costs, only because they are among the few examples that have looked closely at costs.

The problem in my work is that it is often difficult to estimate costs. Things get lumped together. Interviewers estimate how much time various activities take. It seems like we've been really focused on the "errors" part of the equation and assumed that the "costs" part is easy. That assumption is often not true.

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